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Let’s enterprise into the historical past of trees, wooden, and the axe. Everywhere people have gone they’ve mowed down timber to make instruments, houses, fires, bridges, buildings, and even railroad tracks. Yes, the primary railroads usually ran on wood rails, as writer John Perlin explains in a brand new version of his basic e book, A Forest Journey: The Role of Trees in the Fate of Civilization. First printed in 1989, A Forest Journey has been re-released in an expanded, superbly illustrated version by Patagonia. And, sure, there’s an environmental impression disclosure on the copyright web page of the e book.
John can also be the writer of Let It Shine: The 6000-Year Story of Solar Energy and different histories of photo voltaic expertise. His writing is persistently shocking and illuminating. For instance, A Forest Journey challenges many present assumptions about the benefits of peoples and nations. It is a problem to the conclusions in Jared Diamond’s influential historical past, Guns, Germs, and Steel. John makes a transparent case that Northern Europe achieved world dominance largely on the premise of its entry to huge forests that, in different elements of the world, had been chopped down throughout antiquity. The largely barren Mediterranean basin, for instance, was closely forested earlier than people entered the area. A Forest Journey is obtainable now from Amazon and Powell’s Books, in addition to native bookstores. You can study extra about John Perlin at john-perlin.com.
This podcast initially aired on March 10, 2023.